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Monthly Archives: November 2012

The Importance of Having your Mortgage Papers Ready when you Sell your Home

So you have taken the leap and put your home on the market.  An offer comes in that you accept and now the title company must get to work.  Having a paper trail showing your mortgage history is incredibly important.

No one thinks about the paperwork involved with selling a home.  Homeowners think about the hassle of putting their home up for sale.  The house must be kept up and ready to go to show to potential buyers.  It’s a real inconvenience, but just one of those things you must do to get that home sold.  Once the home has an offer on it that is accepted, homeowners breathe a sigh of relief and relax as now they just have to wait for the paperwork to be processed so they can close on their home.

A big hurdle comes up on occasion when the title company looks to clear the title for the new owners and pieces of the mortgage history are missing.  Missing information can be in the form of such things as an equity loan or a refinance.  What’s important is that you dig up every last paper you can find to form a paper trail. The more information you can provide regarding bank names, account numbers, loan amounts etc… the better off you will be because the process of clearing the title will go much quicker.

Title work can be incredibly frustrating for the homeowner.  They have just gotten through the hurdles of showing their home again and again.  They have gotten an offer that they find acceptable and they think that getting to a closing table to sign the last papers should be a piece of cake.  When title work holds up the closing, it becomes a tedious process for everyone.

As long as you have all of your papers showing the history of the financial transactions on the house, getting to the closing table will be fairly straight forward.  This is why it’s important to be ready to go once the offer comes in.  Make sure you have all of your documents ready to hand over to the title company and finishing the task of selling your home will be easy and fairly stress free.

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Posted by on November 27, 2012 in advice, housing, how to

 

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Home at the Holidays

As the Thanksgiving holiday is fast approaching, I think about the importance of the home.  No matter how big or small your home is, or whether you rent or own your home, home really is where the heart is.

This is the time of year when we tend to spruce up our homes.  The house is freshened up and decorated for the approaching holidays.  Out of the attic decorations are pulled.  This is the time of season where entertaining is at its peak.

In our home, candles are placed throughout the house.  Cinnamon spritzed pinecones are mixed in a bowl with cinnamon sticks and glass ornaments.  A wreath is placed over our mantel and pine boughs are draped down the stair railing.  Lights twinkle outside on the house and festive music is played.

This is the time of year when our kitchen gets an extra thorough workout.  Cookies are baked and dips are made.  The air is filled with happiness and the children seem lighter on their feet. No matter where you live, the home does seem to come alive with activity. It really is a very special time of year.

This is the time of year that friends and family become more of a priority.  The hustle and bustle of work, school activities and appointments slows down as the holidays envelop our family.  The holidays truly are a time to reflect and feel grateful for all we have.

As Thanksgiving is now just days a way,  I hope you are able to share this special day with the ones you love.  Thanksgiving is a time for gratitude.  What better way to feel gratitude than surrounded by those close to you, in a home you have cozied up and a delicious meal to enjoy with others.

I wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving.

 
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Posted by on November 20, 2012 in family, life

 

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Weekly Meeting

Last week I went to one of my weekly meetings.  Recently we have had some guest speakers.  The people who have come in to speak with us have been realtors who have been in the business for on average 20 years.  These are the realtors who are top producers and have really seen it all.

I have felt incredibly lucky to have been able to get in front of these people and hear what their experiences have been like.  The wealth of knowledge I have attained from these individuals has been priceless.

This last meeting really stuck out for me.  We had a woman who came in and discussed her views on how she runs her business.  The part of her discussion that really hit home for me was when she talked about her attitude towards her clients.

I had just come off of a week where I had put in some serious time with a renter.  They had finally found a home they loved.  After submitting their application to the owner, they were accepted as the renter for that property.  The client spent a few days dragging their feet while this owner had pulled her listing from the market.  In the end, I received an email stating that they had decided to go with a different home.

I have no idea if there was really a different home.  I don’t know if they had another realtor they were working with on the side or if they had worked with someone renting out their own home.  The hardest part of the experience was not knowing the true circumstances behind the change of heart.  I just had to accept what had happened, wish them luck and move on.

At the meeting, the realtor had spoken of some highlights she had with clients and some of the rough moments.  What had happened with my client was far from unique.  It has happened to every realtor at one point or another.

The realtor who addressed the group was a mild-mannered person.  She reminded me in many ways of the way I look at things and how I choose to handle them.  She is resigned to the fact that things will happen that won’t be of benefit to you.  It is the nature of the business.  It brings up the question of are you happy enough in the business that you are ok helping someone out even if it doesn’t result in a sale?

The realtor made an excellent point that really brought the whole discussion full circle.  Realtors (for the most part) really aren’t sales people.  Realtors are consultants.  People are making huge financial and emotional decisions.  It is not up to us to decide what works for them.  It is are job to show them options and support their decisions.

I look at it like this.  If you go to the department store for a new outfit, you might have a salesperson assisting you.  They are there to show you options.  They give you a selection of wardrobe pieces to try on.  The salesperson can go on and on raving about an outfit and how you must get that particular item.  If the price is too high, you don’t like the color, you can’t imagine where you would wear such an outfit or you feel the garment isn’t a good fit, you most likely will look elsewhere.  It doesn’t matter how hard the salesperson tries to convince you to buy it.  Their job is to consult and give options.  If a sale is made, great!  The salesperson, to be good at their job and be able to enjoy their job long-term needs to be happy as a consultant no matter what the outcome.  If not, they will burn out.  They will no longer enjoy their job.

I got into this business because I like assisting others.  I like getting to know different people and feeling as though I have helped them in a very personal decision in their life.  As far as I am concerned, money is the bonus you receive on occasion when everything falls into place.  It’s the only way to look at this business if you are in it for the long haul.  If money is something you feel desperate to get every time you meet a new client, the deals are just going to fall apart.

People are savvy.  There are a million realtors out there.  When a decision is this big, a customer needs to feel a sense of trust and loyalty.  Your intentions must be pure.  You want to help them find what’s best for them.  The moment your needs come before theirs, you are no longer servicing them as you should.

This in my opinion is the way this business must be looked at.  You are a consultant and are in this business to assist others in what is important to them, period.

 
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Posted by on November 18, 2012 in advice, career, opinion

 

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The Highs and Lows of Being a Real Estate Agent

The last two days have been a whirlwind.  I have been juggling a few different clients and quite a lot has happened in such a small span of time.  To break it down, the last two days have been the greatest of moments and the worst of moments.

I have been working with a great couple.  They are wonderful to deal with and make my job really enjoyable.  They have trusted my opinions on what will help the house look its best and what price would be appropriate to list the home for.  We’ve had great communication with each other and the whole process has just been extremely pleasant.

I listed the home on Monday.  I had just finished the paperwork and put the information on the MLS to advertise it was for sale.  Within ten minutes of the home being placed online, a call came in from a realtor looking to schedule an appointment for later that day.  A few moments later, another call came in to view the property.  It felt good to hear that there was an immediate interest in the home.

Three hours after putting the listing online, an offer came in.  It was a cash offer and $5,000 over listing price.  It was the craziest experience I have had so far.  I called the owners and they were thrilled.  Needless to say, papers were signed, there is an inspection scheduled, and we should be closing in two weeks.  It was incredible.

During this same time frame, I had a client looking to rent a home.  They had submitted their information, and the owner agreed to lease to them.

To backtrack a moment, I have had an uneasy feeling about this client from the beginning.  They were 25 minutes late to their first appointment.  The second time I took them out, they were 15 minutes late to the first home.  We went to another home afterwards which was 5 minutes away, and it took them 20 minutes to get there.  Apparently they got lost.

When they found the home they wanted to lease, they dragged their feet getting all of the paperwork in.  I got 14 emails in an hour span dissecting the lease and making complaints such as that they had to pay a fee for a cashier’s check.  They were originally going to sign the lease within a day after they had someone look over the lease.  Then it was stalled with them stating they would sign at the end of the week (6 days later).

I explained that there wasn’t a contract in place yet and that the owner could go with another renter if they were slow to act.  I got an email back stating that the lease would be signed and handed in the next day.  Two hours later, I received an email stating they weren’t interested after all.

When you are in real estate, you will have the amazing moments and the annoying ones.  In the case of the lease, I felt horrible for the other realtor as though I had been the one jerking them around.  I felt even worse for the homeowner who had trusted the process and pulled the listing from the market.

This is what working as a real estate agent is really like.  Some moments will be really great, and some moments will make you want to pull your hair out.  You really do have to be a people person to enjoy this career.  You also have to have a thick skin.  This is the part I am still working on.  I’ll put my heart and soul into helping someone out, and if the deal goes bad, I take it personally.  I know it’s just business and that you never can tell what situations a person might be experiencing to react in the manner in which they do.

I truly believe that this is a great career for character building, patience and learning to roll with the punches.  I honestly am willing to endure a few bad moments, because the good moments tend to happen more often and it really is so worthwhile to invest in.

 
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Posted by on November 14, 2012 in business, career planning, personal

 

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Does all that Hard Work Advertising Really Pay off?

When I began my career in real estate, I came into the office at the same time as a few other people.  We were all new to real estate and would share what we were doing to drum up business with each other. There were a variety of techniques people were using to get more business.  It was a great experience to be able to talk with other people in the same position and see what they thought might work for them.

For me personally, my mantra was that I was looking for as many creative ways to get my name out there for as little money as possible.  I didn’t have a steady flow of clients at the time, and I wasn’t willing to put out a lot of money if I could find ways to get my name out there for free.

It has been interesting to see what is working out for people.  I have seen some people really invest in their business and spend a fortune on advertisement.  Full color brochures and a long list of postcards being mailed to particular communities is the way they felt would result in some good business.  You do look successful when you spend that kind of money on impressive looking material. After a few months of waiting and watching, I honestly haven’t seen a return on the value of putting that much money into an advertisement campaign.

The hardest part about advertising is it is a slow process.  It takes months of continual placement of your advertisement before you start to see a glimmer of results.  This can be frustrating.  You don’t want to feel as though you are wasting your time, but there really is no overnight magical way of doing things where you will see a quick response from your ads (at least I haven’t found or heard of that yet).

So where do I fit in?  What have I been doing?  The first thing I did was advertise to friends and family that I was in the business.  Every now and then, an email will go out with information on the housing market or some decorating tips etc… Something to remind people that this is my career.  I have also spent endless amounts of time passing out black and white flyers to the neighborhoods I really want to work in.  I can get the paper and copying done for free at work and so I have taken advantage of many hours spent walking in neighborhoods.

I have known of some people who have experienced a small amount of luck passing out flyers, but I haven’t had any calls from my flyers yet.  I consider passing out flyers as more of a way to get people used to my name.  The more they hear it, the more successful I will appear and the more business I will hopefully get.  I am only working in a particular area so this plan might eventually pay off.

The best area that I have had success is through the internet.  You can do quite a bit for free.  I began by setting up my own website.  I made sure I had a presence on Zillow, Trulia and Realtor.com, then I branched out.  I got busy on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.  I also have a strong presence on some smaller sites.  I then started this blog and am online in the Oakland Press.

Free has definitely begun to pay off for me.  I have gotten two potential clients from Twitter and one from my website.  I have had several companies reach out and try to recruit me on LinkedIn.  I have even gotten some offers to write about real estate.

I truly believe that when you first start out, free is best.  Why spend huge amounts of money when you can get the same results for free?  No matter what you choose to do, it will take a while before you begin to see the results of your hard work.  Be patient and persistent, it will pay off.  Lastly, do what you can on the internet.  It’s an incredible way to touch an extremely high amount of people with very little time invested.

 
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Posted by on November 9, 2012 in advice, career, how to

 

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The Best and Worst Part of Having a Career in Real Estate

I have often been asked what the best and worst part of a career in real estate is.  There are so many people who are thinking of a career in this field.  I thought it would be great to give a general breakdown of my personal feelings about what is good and bad about a career in this field.  Hopefully it will shed some light on if a career in real estate is right for you.

Best part of being a realtor:

1.  Working with people.  Helping them to find that perfect home.

2.  Setting my own schedule.

3.  Being in charge of how successful I become.

4.  Endless possibilities in the amount of money I can make.

5.  Having a family life.

6.  Being able to network by doing the things I love.

7.  I meet some great people.

Worst part of being a realtor:

1.  Deals that go bad because of situations I can’t control.

2.  Seeing a client not end up with the home they fell in love with.

3.  The climb to make a decent living.

4.  Keeping records of expenses, mileage etc…

5.  Hearing stories of people losing homes or having trouble being approved for one.

Really that is all I could come up with.  ultimately, I love my career.  I wake up each day excited to work.  I feel so lucky to have found a career that makes me feel so good.

I hope that this article puts some of the ups and downs of being a realtor in better perspective if you are trying to decide if real estate is the right career for you.

 
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Posted by on November 6, 2012 in career, real estate

 

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Take Getting Your Papers Together Seriously

I had a busy weekend.  I was working with a few different clients who were looking for rental properties.  My clients were back to back and thankfully looking in the same city.  Running from one appointment to the next was much easier because of the logistics.

Winter is approaching and the clients I saw were both in the same situation.  They want to be in a new rental property before the snow hits and they have to worry about moving in the snow.

The majority of renters these days are looking for a home that has 3 bedrooms, at least 1.5 bathrooms, a minimum of 1,000 sq ft. and a rental payment around $1,200 per month.  There are more renters looking than well maintained homes available for rent.  Homes for rent are going fast if they look good and are well priced.

Coincidentally, one of the homes I went to yesterday I showed twice.  Each group of clients I took through the property fell in love with it immediately.  The home was gorgeous.  There was a good-sized living room with a beautiful fireplace.  Three bedrooms were decent sized and had a good amount of closet space.  There were 2 bathrooms that were updated with good-looking tile and fancy showers.  The kitchen was well laid out and fit for a chef.  There was even a well finished basement and a garage.

Both groups fell in love with the property.  Both groups wanted to take it.  I have no idea if there are other people who have viewed the property with their own realtor.  For all I know there is a slew of people who will be fighting over the home.

I had met with each group for the first time yesterday.  Before our appointment, we went over the importance of having a credit report ready to go, an application filled out and a letter of employment ready to submit.  Yet, neither group of clients had finished getting all of the required paperwork together.  I don’t believe either group figured they would find the perfect home so quickly.  Now the rush is on to finish up all of the paperwork so that it can be submitted.

I have to admit, I have seen a lot of rental properties.  This particular house is the best house by far that I have seen to date.  This house will be off the market within a day.  Even though I have two different groups of people interested in the home, I am not confident that either group will get the home.

The problem is that when you find the home you want, having your papers ready is crucial.  Homes are moving way too fast.  The best way to secure the home you want is to be able to submit everything needed the moment you find what you want.  Even then, who knows who else might be submitting their paperwork as well.

The home will fall through for at least one of my clients.  They can’t both live there.  For anyone who sees their version of the perfect home and then loses it, heartache will set in.  Future homes will be compared to the one that got away.  What a horrible way to learn to take suggestions for being ready to act on a property seriously.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out.  Honestly, I’ll be surprised if either client gets the home since they weren’t ready to act on it.  I hope this serves as a good piece of advice for anyone who is interested in getting a new place to live in.  Save some heartache.  Get your papers together and be ready to act when the right home comes along.  The market is different these days.  Why bother running yourself ragged looking for a place if you aren’t ready to grab up a home when you fall in love with it.

 
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Posted by on November 5, 2012 in advice, how to, life

 

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